Telangana assembly polls: People even afraid of criticising Modi govt on mobiles, alleges Naidu
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of crushing freedom of expression, spreading hatred among people and indulging in witch-hunts against political rivals.
“Modi is a brand ambassador for negativity, hatred and fear. People are afraid of even speaking over mobile phones, as his government targets anybody who raises a voice against it. We have not seen this kind of witch-hunting during the Congress regimes, which we had fought for several decades,” Naidu alleged in an interaction with the media during his poll campaign. Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party is contesting the December 7 Telangana assembly elections along with the Congress as part of a four-party grand alliance.
He claimed that there was no development, no freedom and no happiness in the country in the last four years of the Modi government. “The people of the country would sleep happily only after May 2019 when the NDA is going to step down,” he said.
Naidu, also the TDP chief, also accused the Modi government of starting to target his party leaders with a series of raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Income Tax and the Enforcement Directorate after the party left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Claiming it would not be surprising if he is himself targeted, he said this was the “grouse Modi has developed against me, because I started questioning his high-handed behaviour”.
He said Modi, perhaps, had not forgotten the past. “Following the 2002 Gujarat riots, I was the only NDA partner who had brought pressure on then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to sack Modi, who was the chief minister of the state then, in the interest of the nation. However, he (Modi) managed to continue and when he became the Prime Minister in 2014, I thought he was a changed man. But he continued to be the same old character,” Naidu said.
He also found fault with Modi for his gibes at Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. “A politician should always be modest and humble. It gives a dignity to the post he is holding. But Modi lacks this modesty,” he said.
Asked who the prime ministerial candidate would be if the anti-BJP front comes to power after the 2019 general elections, Naidu said it was not the time to talk about it. “As a matter of fact, anybody can be a better Prime Minister than Modi,” he said.
Reacting to BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao’s petition to Parliament Ethics Committee seeking removal of TDP MPs Y S Chowdary and CM Ramesh on grounds of alleged financial irregularities, Naidu said Rao should also seek the removal of BJP president Amit Shah from Rajya Sabha as his son was also facing allegations of grave financial irregularities.
Addressing a series of road shows in Sherilingampalli constituency in the afternoon, Naidu said he had never claimed that he had built Hyderabad, as was being alleged by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders. “But yes, I had built Cyberabad and created excellent infrastructural facilities in and around Hyderabad. Even Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his son K T Rama Rao had acknowledged it in the past. Now, they are criticizing me for the sake of votes,” he said.